An electricity generating solar system comprises of the following main components:
These solar panels capture the sun’s energy turning it into usable energy for your household using photovoltaic cells ie. PV Cells.
Solar panels are rated in Watts and this is the amount of power that the solar panel would be expected to produce at standard testing conditions of sunlight intensity (1000w/metre at 25 degrees celsius).
Each geographical location receives different quantities of solar radiation on average per day. South Africa is a premium solar energy producing area because of our fantastic year-round weather.
Cape Town solar panels receive an annual average of 6,5 sun hours per day.
Solar panels operate better at slightly cooler temperatures (around 25 degrees celcius) and lose output efficiency as the temperature increase above that.
Solar panels can be arranged in single or multiple arrays depending on the available roof space and connected in serial and / or parallel.
Multiple arrays to a single array will increase the price as the inverter will need to be able to handle multiple strings.
The purpose of solar regulators is to regulate the output from the solar panels to prevent your battery bank from overcharging and damaging the batteries.
The solar regulator also prevents the batteries from discharging below the cut-off voltage (generally 50%) and from discharging to the solar panel at night.
The inverter converts the DC power generated by the solar panels and stored in the batteries into AC power to be used by the appliances in your home.
True sine wave inverters are used to allow all household appliances especially televisions and computers to operate optimally without any disturbances.
Inverters are generally rated by the amount of AC power that they can supply continuously.
It is vital to know when and what peaks and spikes are likely to occur (when loads of appliances are in use at one time say around 19h00 and a kettle and / or hairdryer is switched on additionally) as the inverter has overload protection which will shut the power down if the spike is too high or continuous.
Batteries store power generated by the solar panels and release that power for use by the household via the inverter when necessary (at night or during load shedding). Deep cycle gel batteries are generally used.
Monitoring systems prevent your system from feeding the excess power that it might generate which your household does not use into the grid while allowing your system to use power off the grid if and when it becomes necessary (your system is down, your batteries are not charged and the panels are not producing, etc.)
The systems also allow you to monitor the amount of power you are generating and using.
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